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27 Jul 2010

Ding Dong Wake Up

In an article I was reading recently, the writer talked about how much of precision is involved in a chef's job. He has to come up with a really good dish, as quickly as he can and he cannot afford to make mistakes. He cannot afford to have bad days. He cannot afford to slip up on time or taste. He has to be perfect and efficient every hour of his work. 

That got me thinking. I've always believed that being a computer professional is probably the easiest and least risky job. That's probably why they are available at the rate of a dime a dozen too. You can screw up, get pulled up for it and then you get on with your job. At worst, you lose your job and find another one. The worst you can affect is mucking up a client's figures. Money? Inventory? How harmful can it be? Compare it with the job of doctors who have a patient's life in their hands, builders, even tattoo artists... they have to get it right at first attempt every time. The repercussions are huge and ugly!

Yet, I've noticed how non-computer professionals complain a lot less than the so-called "software developers". It could be because they are in a chosen line of work, unlike the mass of computer techies. 

Stand back and look around you. As the cliche goes, stop to smell the roses. A computer job is probably a lot less precise and stressful than the others. If you disagree, you are probably one of those who take more stress unto themselves than is necessary. If you don't turn up at work tomorrow, the impact is minimal. 

I took a half hour out to make a few phone calls today. Forgot that I was at work, forgot the people around me, forgot the 'issues' I was trying to resolve. There's nothing like chatting up an old friend and exchanging gossips. It is one of the most beautiful experiences of life. Hearing a voice from the good old days and laughing a lot, it blows away the stress of the day like it was nothing. 

25 Jul 2010

Gold Coast @ $30

My meticulous calculation had ended in at least a couple of hundred dollars for the trip. The actuals were $30. Yes, that's right. Talk about savings!

Of course, we decided not to do the Theme Parks this time. Then the husband had a brainwave (uh-oh). We took the gorgeous beast sitting in our garage for a second outing. The "poor man's Harley Davidson", as the owner calls it, licked the roads of Surfers' Paradise. Quite an adventure it was, riding the cruiser at 100 to 110kph, on the highway. As cruisers are not quite built for that speed or such a journey, the beast protested by gently swaying occasionally but was generous enough not to cause more fuss than that. No doubt, it was the husband's uncanny 'auto skills' at display. Even when the wind threatened to blow my helmet away and had me clutching at it with one hand, he drove single-mindedly like there was nothing bothering him.  

To give myself some credit here, my navigator skills were put to test when we forgot to pick up the directions I'd meticulously observed on google maps and written down on a piece of paper. I did well, I must say, we never got lost. Once we arrived, it was the herculean task of finding parking. Not a single bike in sight. Where do we park? We decided that a car park was as good as any. Not too sure of that, we cruised about until we reached what looked like a residential area, with parking allowed on both sides. Free parking, woohoo! 

The beach was one of the best I have seen. White sheets of sand, cool against our feet and a cool breeze all the while. The sun was out, just enough for light but not too hot. It was the first time I've been at the beach in a not sunny weather. It is nice. The water was beautiful. The white waves looked picturesque against the two shades of green and a shade of dark blue of the water. I've never seen a single beach with water of different colours before. The natural shades were simply fantastic. 

After a quick lunch of beef steak sandwich, fish & chips, we walked around the Centro mall. It was interesting in a funny way. The husband almost got caught by a group of girls in blue cheerleading dress with pom-poms participating in some sort of a competition that required him to buy something at the condom store in the mall. This, just as we nearly crossed the road to avoid the group in red & black, then continued on, not finding them around. Little did we know that group was on to the next phase of their 'treasure hunt' and the pom-pom girls were hunting their prey.

After over half an hour of trying to master the art of shooting a boomerang and have it fly back to us, we packed up. The best we could do was make it fly with a swoosh and turn around a wee bit. The fun was in watching the sea-gulls swoop down each time the boomerang fell to the ground, and flying away just as quickly as we approached. Pretty birds!! Reminded me of one of my favourite books. 

Soon, dark clouds formed in the sky and we decided to get home before the storm got us. We never found out if the stormed came crashing down in Gold Coast because all we felt was a light drizzle as we circled a bit, looking for an exit to the highway. Once we found it, it was another adventure at 100kph, flying down the Pacific Motorway. This time, the bike shook less, in spite of the strong wind because I had shifted my seating position and let the husband get better control of the beast. My bums never stopped talking long after I got home. I think they hate me now. 

To celebrate taking a day trip at less than 1/4th of the estimated price, the husband and I decided to treat ourselves to a movie. Suffice to say we spent more on those 2.5hrs of 'Inception' than we did on our little beach outing. We deserved it, that is our excuse. 

A Morning At The Data Centre

When I had to give up my OCD a fair deal, I wondered how I would cope. I could not. I hated it but hell, life never promised to be fair. There are some bits I've tried to cling on to just so I can identify myself when I look in the mirror. That seems to work fine, for the moment.

With so many things changing, it feels like the beginning of a new life. Maybe it is. Do you know what that means? I get to make choices all over again. Who do I want to be? How do I want to live? My first thought was, "Oh shit! I have to start planning all over again" but you gotta do what you gotta do. Sometimes, you find out you actually want this.

It is a bit like shopping. You try on different clothes, someone around you gives you a thumbs up or wrinkles up their nose and you try another one... until you find something that fits you well. Tedious as it may sound, shopping is fun, comfort, bliss. That is exactly how I decided to approach my options. Try them all, I didn't have to just pick one at random, nobody was asking me to. 

I tried working long hours at work - you know, the staying-after-hours-and-trying-to-learn-things routine - but soon realized it wouldn't do. For one, I would get hungry and unless dear DM was around with something to eat, it was hard to concentrate. For another, I would be itching to get out and experience the outside world. It definitely did not help that no one else stayed around at that hour. Hell, this outfit won't fit. 

The next thing was to do 'normal' hours. It was a bit of a worry in the beginning, people around me were hammering away in the background while I was fumbling. I wondered if I should go back and pick up what I had discarded. This is where the friend comes in. The one who does the thumbs up/wrinkle nose, remember? Try it on, pick up accessories to go with it... see if it works. Worked for me, yay! Ah, I am beginning to like this. 

The visit to the data centre last week has left me in a fix again. It is like having a new pair of shoes but not dress to go with it. How hard is that? I know! 

The expectations set to me were clear - a room full of big black boxes. GF added, "The most exciting thing there will be the man-traps". You can imagine, I was not quite looking forward to it. I've seen them on google, what else is there to see? Again, you gotta do what you gotta do. If the boss says "Jump", you ask, "How high?"

The real feeling of seeing storage devices, the circuits, the UNIX machines, the mainframe, tandem boxes, LAN storage - whoever said black boxes were boring? Simply walking past them, listening to the techie explain what cables go where, the colour coding, how it all fits together in the real world had me tingling with excitement. Of course, the man-trap was cool too. Data security took an altogether different meaning. Data took an altogether different meaning. Suddenly all of management's favourite terms like 'save storage', 'save costs' took a new meaning. 

Sitting in an office in the city, beautiful heritage building, lovely views and dummy terminals, I never once wondered or cared where it was all going. The long journey that every keystroke of mine traversed and hit me back at unbelievable speeds is mind-boggling. Knowing that everything I do is being recorded on a machine and stored away somewhere is fascinating as well as freaky. 

Have you ever worked from home? Accessed your local drives or desktop? You might think you are picking up stuff from your PC at your desk in a building in the city. Get over it. All you are doing is looking at images from a storage device hidden away behind layers of security in no man's land. Shared drives, you say? There is no hard drive sitting in one of your offices collecting everything you have stored, it's all out there, in a secret place where big black boxes in a room swallow everything you have ever put in there at some point. Now, that sure explains how data is "restored", doesn't it? 

What was that someone once said? You can never lose data, it's there somewhere. It was meant to be in conjunction with one of our all-time theories of how matter can never be lost in space. 

Back to my shopping anecdote. How does all of this fit into me having mis-matching shoes and dress? I loved looking at black boxes, got goose-bumps looking at circuits and got excited about data. I picked myself a dress that said 'social life, outdoors, excitement'. Now, my shoes are screaming 'data, indoors, work'. Now, what?

Well, for the moment, I guess I will have to go with what I have. Who knows, it may even become the next big thing in fashion! Something like that...

18 Jul 2010

Say Thanks To Me

I'm known for taking my time getting to the point, as is the case in most of my blogs. Keeping that in mind, I'll start off by making a note of something my mum said to me back home, every time I had to say goodbye to a certain phase of my life. Funnily enough, it was a thought that occurred to me but I dared not voice. 

"When you leave a place and go (after you've been in it for a while), the place seems to improve by leaps and bounds"

I am not sure whether that is a good thing or bad. I know it sounds like the place was just waiting for me to leave so it could make some progress. Like I was some kind of an obstruction to progress. However, there is another, deeper sense to it. I mean, if I had never been there, in the first place, the place would have continued to suck. Right? 

In 10 years of my school life, we never had sports or outdoor activities of any kind. Does one session for the girls, on 'periods', in the seventh (or was it eighth) standard count? It was in a classroom, by the way, so we won't count that. Getting back to the point, we never had anything that I read in books. Except in the penultimate year, when we had an awesome Sports Day. It was huge, for kids who had never seen anything of that sort all their lives (i.e. me and my friends who had been in that school ever since our parents found out we could vaguely identify the alphabet). The final year was "serious studies", of course, so no such thing happened. Thereafter, they have had Sports Day every year. School group photographs, albums and, in time, even a school magazine. Bloody hell!

Oh, how can I forget they refused to let us sing or dance to movie songs back then? Now, it's no problem at all. Tut-tut.

After graduation, I took up a couple of jobs and quit one for more money. In those days, the company I quit was not quite known to be the best paymaster. I loved the organization with all my heart but I had to put bread on the table and I had to move on. Someone told me when I was leaving, "If they ask you why you are leaving, just say the magic word "money" and the exit interview will be over in a poof". It's a different story that I was really leaving for money, but that was the joke that went around in those days. I quit. The following year, the pay-scales were raised and ever since, the hikes have been good, so have the bonuses. 

Let's not get superstitious here. It's got to be a coincidence. Of course!

Another job or two later, I moved inter-country. To experience a new culture, a new place and see what 'better standards of living meant' in comparison to living in a Third World Country. It has been fantastic until now and I cannot see why it cannot remain so. I was raving to my mum on Skype today, about the fabulous ride the husband and I did, with some friends, today and she tells me about new bike tracks being built back home. She watched it on TV, it's in the planning stage. No kidding! I wonder if the husband will want to stay here with me, now. 

I hung up the conversation after a few more minutes of my share of home, family and familiar culture. Just as I took a last swig of beer and headed to bath, my husband shouts out to me, "Have you seen the new rupee symbol yet?" Holy Shit! Talk about modernization! Talk about progress!

So, are we going to use a symbol instead of the abbreviation "Rs." from now on? We are going to be riding on bike tracks and not on dangerous roads through horrific traffic? This is just one of those big leaps, the little bits and bites of improvements have been going on for a while now, haven't they? Garbage collection, fly-overs, park improvements... to name just a few. I am thrilled! I can't wait to see what they turn my beautiful country into. And it will all be because of me. Yeah? A-ha!

I remember a friend telling me over phone yesterday, that when I return home, I might complain about a lot of things, having gotten used to my new home. I wonder about that now. I had refused to acknowledge that (like all Indians who leave home do). I think I will be proved right this time. As always! How would I not love my country with such a huge variety of cultures and now fighting ferociously for it's place in line with the 'modern world'? 

No matter what they say...

Connecting The Dots

When I was much younger and not so bright (actually, I think I was way brighter then than I am now but let me not go into hard facts right now), I used to love those connect-the-dots activities. You start at one point, feeling very confident, get confused every now and then until a brainwave hits you and you just know the next correct dot to take your line to... half a day later you emerge from the sheets, feeling proud of yourself at drawing an elephant or a rabbit or a tree. 

It doesn't occur to you that you might have churned out a better piece of art, had you not followed someone else's dots. It is one of the simplest forms of puzzles, shall I say, before you progress to simple word crosswords and cryptic ones. Some of us slower people never get to that stage because by the time we've mastered the simple puzzles, we hit one called Life and there starts a real adventure. 

My first few weeks in this new country started off with looking for a suitable accommodation. Other than actually scouring the real estate sites for descriptions, making appointments with agents, one of the most important activities it involved was finding the location. I never used to be a great map reader (thank God for husbands) but I learnt to make out enough not to go too far out in the wrong direction. The Translink website is a guiding angel telling you exactly where to get on and get off, whether to take a bus, ferry or train.

Somehow, with all these aids and a good dose of the husband's instincts for direction, we managed to arrive at every one of those apartments, on time, and evaluated it as best as we could. Each time we liked or thought a place was not too bad, we would look around for convenience stores, super-markets, transportation and anything else I might need, in the vicinity. In addition, I looked at houses (drooling at the ones I could not afford) and landmarks to go on my mental map of the suburb.

Now that I have settled in, the husband and I have been trying to walk around and familiarize ourselves with the area. The husband seems not to be awed by what we find, partly because he already knew it and partly because he suspected it. I am thrilled. Whenever we head out and walk around, I connect a handful of dots, squealing in excitement per dot I connect and when I get home, I feel equipped with new knowledge. 

I have concentrated mostly on a handful of suburbs, so it should not be a wonder that the streets around us are mostly recognizable. I never realized it back then, because we did one or two apartments per day and each time took a different route (the best, per Translink) to get to a place. Yesterday, we walked from the station to the Rosalie Village and as I read out street names and found stores and restaurants we had passed through earlier, I went through a range of mixed feelings. Excitement at being able to connect the dots and map my suburb. Ah, the feeling of knowing! Surprise that I was surprised to find so close, places that I had never known were so close to where I stay. I was surprised because I did not know but it is a surprise that I did not know because they are right there!

Confusing? Well, no, should not be. The tangles are slowly un-knotting themselves. To be familiar with a strange place, finally, puts you in a happy place. 

I had never missed home food before but to find three restaurants of home cuisine within walking distances makes you miss home, home food and want to go. Two down, one more left. Ice-cream parlours, cinema, late night grocers, wine stores, varied cuisines, pubs, parks... all of them and more than one... within walking distance... How cool is that? Eh?

Like a friend said to me the other day when he came visiting, "This is a really nice place, it was worth waiting this long to find the right place. It was a good decision". It was, wasn't it? 

The right place. Yes. This feels like home. The old couch with one improvised seat-back, the bright patio furniture, the walk-in robe, the pretty cushions, the warm polar fleece throws, the inviting bed, the open kitchen, the study, just about everything seems right. Just as I like it. 

To start from here, match the dots and return, armed with the complete picture, is a lovely puzzle to solve. That is the beauty of the dots, they guide you till the end with a promise of treasure where the rainbow ends... A promise that is sure to be kept. 

16 Jul 2010

Mo-bike To Mt Coot-Tha

It was one of those hectic days. It is amazing how much paperwork is there to get done, especially around the end of the financial year. I decided that I deserved a nice long ride in the cold wind and we took the mo-bike out for a spin. Gorgeous beast, that one, I must admit. 

For the first time in my life, I wore a closed helmet. And did not choke. Or suffocate. Or panic. Not even when little specks kept hitting my eye every time I opened the vizer or when my helmet kept running into my husband's during conversations. It was too good a ride to notice little peeves, I suppose.

If I thought riding on the road was awesome (everywhere I go, I am by the side of the river, how beautiful is that), the ride up Mt Coot-tha was fabulous. Winded roads, wind in the trees, traffic-free and boy, what a view!! The city-lights looked stunning as we rode all the way to the top. 

The view from the top itself was more beautiful than anything I have seen at night. Brisbane is largely flat, with it's share of hilly suburbs and when standing on the top of Mt Coot-tha at night, with a 180 degree view, it looked like a large crown studded with gem-stones. The coloured lights towards the city added to the glamour. It was freezing and I had not the foresight to wear warm enough clothes. Yet I stood there mesmerized until I could feel my fingers no more. 

As we walked back to the bike, we walked past a little store that said something to the effect of 'It is warm inside, get out of that cold and get in here'. How cute is that, for an advertisement? I had never noticed until I saw those scores and scores of clocks, magnets and other souvenirs that Australia was actually shaped like a boomerang! Is that what the deal with boomerangs is, I wonder! Maybe it's a coincidence... the boomerang had to come from the Aboriginals' basket, hadn't it? 

Of course, I didn't buy anything, I'm no tourist no more (psst: the husband wouldn't let me). We headed back and the ride seemed much shorter. No less fun, though. Cold weather is beautiful when you are cruising on a bike on quiet streets. I can never get enough of marvelling at the weather. I wonder if I'll say the same when I am in Melbourne. 

10 Jul 2010

Scribble Me Crazy

Some years ago, I developed a technique at work, where I could just write down things I needed to work effectively, so that I could clear the clutter off my head. Not only did I not have to worry about remembering things but I could work effortlessly on my bad days because it was all out there, I did not need to rack my brain. I've worked efficiently using that technique for a long time.

Like most workaholics who don't have a life outside of work, I slowly introduced my 'effective work techniques' into my personal life. Unintentionally, of course. Rather unfortunately, this was one of them. Soon, I developed a compulsive need to write down things. Not because I did not want to remember but I felt the urge to write anything I thought was worth remembering. Journals, "pen-friends", blogs, tweets, my choices were endless... I could go anywhere and put down stuff, depending on how much privacy I wanted with the information. Gradually, my mind refused to assimilate matter. It just spit out stuff, like a gum that has lost all it's juiciness after chewing for a while.

Not before long, urge turned into obsession into addiction. I had to write. I met these wonderful people today and listened to some fabulous stories. Now, my hand itches to write those stories, about those stories, about the people. I'm tempted to write about my new experiences. It's not a bad thing, is it? Except that if I sat down to write, I would fill hours and pages without stopping for a week or two. 

When did that happen? What would I do if I were left in a place with wonderful things around me but no laptop, no mobile, no paper or pen? I don't know.

As I hold myself back from spending endless hours online, struggling to get over my urges, I battle with my mind. It spews out memories as if they had an expiry date, I refuse to let it. So far, I've mostly failed but the war rages on. Let's see who will win this one...

Moving Day

According to the plans I made in my head, we should be able to simply move into the new apartment, no hitches. Except that I might miss the old place, the convenience of a serviced apartment being no match to a rental one. So, there was this list of things I had to buy, so we could get started. Lists actually, there was the Friday shopping list, Saturday shopping list, Sunday shopping list and Monday shopping list. 

Come Friday and the evening's spent packing. Fill up the large grey suitcase, cram the  large black one, stuff the other large black one, the small grey and red ones, the blue bag, the brown bag, the other brown bag... it just would not end. I cannot believe the amount of junk I had to throw away. Has it really been only a month? How on earth did we accumulate so much waste? We packed till midnight. Out the window, shopping list 1. 

Come Saturday, lazy morning, slept in, soaked in the luxury of an expensive service apartment. Paid the bills, found a nice Punjabi cab driver, who gave us a good $4 dollar profit for the joy of having met Indians who could speak good Hindi and make enjoyable conversations (yeah, we rock). We finally moved into our new place. The feeling was nothing like I imagined. I enjoyed moving in, no apprehensions. That in spite of the fact that I did not have anything from my Friday list. I promised myself I would cover all of that today.

A breakfast of the best hamburger I've ever had and a great coffee later, we started unpacking. Just walking around the house, arranging things can be so exciting. I had never thought that was possible. Soon after, it was time to head out to the BBQ.

MC has this fabulous red Mini Cooper (with a Union Jack on the roof). At a hundred kilometres per hour, we zipped past beautiful landscapes, while MC and wife JC kept up an interesting conversation. 

The BBQ itself was immensely enjoyable. Fantastic food, choice of alcohol, great people,  not to forget the sun that played hide and seek with the clouds, giving us the perfect weather - a beautiful blend of warm sunshine and cool winds. Before we knew it, it was lunch time and the nibblies had vanished. Salads, steak, chicken and so on, what a spread it was. The afternoon just kept getting better. The more I meet people, the more I love this place. What stories they have, to tell us.

It is so true what people say about time flying when you are having too much fun. The yummy desserts arrived and Debra convinced me into trying the pavlova (one of the only couple of traditional local recipies; funny that it has a Russian name), by the end of which I was so loaded that I did not want to get up when MC said we had to leave. That is how shopping list 2 went out the window.

So here we are, the husband's reading a book, I'm hammering away on the keyboard, neither of us know how we are gonna eat dinner. There is rice cooking in the electric cooker, shiraz on the kitchen counter but we don't have plates to eat or glasses to drink from! Luckily, we have bed-linen to rest our drunken asses on tonight, thanks to my thoughtful friend who thrust it into my hands as I left his party. 

I feel pampered. Is that why I got so upset that I could not get to the other party, for want of favour? I wonder...

PS. I learnt about the Octopus only today, is it too late to join the bandwagon? Wait, gimme another couple of days, the TV is yet to arrive!
PPS. Did I mention my new bedroom has a walk-in closet? I am super-excited!

8 Jul 2010

The Good Vibes

When I came home this evening, the husband made me a nice hot cuppa with a dash of chocolate. It's great to have an occasional day like that. If I rewind, I find that today is a day of niceties. 

A friend changed his travel plans, just so he could meet me in 3 weeks. When I later apologized for I could not make it, he was real nice about it. And called me to say it might still work out. Thank God for great friends!

RH, backing up our team leader who is on a holiday, brought in a large boxful of doughnuts from Krispy Kreme, "I am your team lead for 3 days, I wanted to do something for you guys". Was already on my nicest-people-I-have-met list, made it to the thoughtful-people list. 

I finally finished the program I've been battling with and managed to complete all my compliance courses. Bravo!

So, inspite of the fact that I paid $10 for a 15 minute national phone call, my allowance has not come through yet, I had an embarrassment marathon and I'm upset with my closest friend, I survived. I suppose this is what they mean when they say it is good to be surrounded by positive energy, it just pushes you through the worst of times.

On a parting note, here is my contribution to some humour in your day. It is not the first time I have heard someone say that google search has taught them more than any school education but this blog on google's societal education is ridiculously hilarious! 

6 Jul 2010

Counting My Blessings

The Kookaburra River Queen - I can never get enough of water and the views. My first river cruise. Wow! 

The weather is getting warmer, it's disappointing. It's too early, come on! Hmm. I wonder if I'll say the same in 3 weeks. I'll cross the bridge when I get to it.

Third week and third team outing. Each one different and special. Like RH said, the precedent has been set, I need something every week now. I could get used to this. No, really, I mean it. I could get used to this. My stomach already grumbles for DM's candies on evenings that he leaves work early.  

"I am happy", I said when I called a friend today. I was just going with the flow, enjoying all good stuff, a streak of stress but hell it feels good to just say it. Work is fantastic. The guys are sweet. Not to mention my friends from the good old days - every one of them celebrating what I am. It was totally worth it. 

Enough counting blessings. Time to go watch an hour of NCIS. Gibbs, McGee, Abby, Ducky, here I come...

5 Jul 2010

Beginner's luck?

I join the organization and within a week, they take me to an Indian restaurant. For someone missing Indian food and wondering if there are any authentic restaurants around, the Punjabi Palace is fantastic. When it's free, nothing like it. Some NZ wine to go with it... white wine... and there begins my affair with wine in Australia. Now I know what people mean when they say wine is 'cheap' in Australia. The beer's fine too, I guess, but I'm not qualified to comment on the quality of alcohol so I won't. I mean... I think the beer's fine, the husband is not happy. In a colleague's words, "Australian beer is barely fit to wash my hands with". Ouch!

Now, the boat cruise. The awesome Kookaburra River Queen. Bloody hell, could I ask for a better team building event? The entire team, all-inclusive, a-ha! So looking forward to it. So is everyone. 

As things fall into place one by one, everything just works itself out. Even before I realize it, I'm planning travels I've been looking forward to, for ages. I'm even enjoying cooking like never before, not to mention the weather. I can't say it often enough, the weather is simply superb! No wonder everyone mentioned the weather when they first heard where I was going. 

What was that Coelho said about the universe conspiring to make things happen?

"When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream"

4 Jul 2010

B&W - Playing It Safe?

When I walk to work every morning, all I can see around me is men and women in black. An occasional white or grey or maybe even navy blue but black black black everywhere it is. A rare sight of red or blue is a treat to the eye. I wonder if I ought to feel overdressed in a dash of colour but I refuse to be.

We go out in the evenings and there more black, grey, white, dark-as-the-night blue with a little more colours around but hell, what's with the black madness? Maybe, people just get out from work and walk around. Like me. Yeah?

On weekends, we go further out and walk around. More black. Blue jeans, black tees, black jackets, black boots, black, black, black. Black and black, white and white. I cannot imagine having a cupboard full of black and white clothes. How do you decide what to wear when you are going out? Maybe that is the thing. You do not need to decide. Just pick anything, it is all black or white anyway... and you will 'fit in'. Is that right?

No wonder when Aussies visited, back home, they always noticed a lot of colour. What do they have against wearing colour, I wonder. It is only with clothes. There are coloured lights, colour in stores, multi-coloured ice-creams, lots of beautiful colours but they just won't wear them. Maybe they are just playing it safe, so they won't go wrong with what they wear, so they will fit in.

Half A Day At South Bank

After 3 weeks of saying I would do it, I finally made it to South Bank yesterday. (Dean, are you listening?). We walked to QPAC and were about to head towards the man-made beach and the markets, when the husband pointed to me a building with a large butterfly on it. The Insectarium level of the Queensland Museum at South Bank. Off we went to check it out.

The Mutt, thanks to wikipedia
We started off on level 2, for that's where we were, with the usual museum-ish stuff like old coins, museum store, a large skeleton of the Muttaburrasaurus Langdoni. The name of this dinosaur comes from the place where it was first found 'Muttaburra' and the man who first found the partial skeleton Doug Langdon. I looked and it and though, "Boy, is it huge", for when I stood  near it, I barely reached up to his belly. Girl behind me is arguing with her boyfriend, "I don't think this is real, it can't be this small". Small? Alright, time to move on.

We walked further down into the world of absolutely beautiful, natural colours and combinations like we had never seen before! The Insectarium with the butterfly, moth and beetle collections of the Butterfly Man of Kuranda, Fredrick Parkhurst Dodd (popularly known as F P Dodd) and his son Alan P Dodd. The exhibition displays 28 beautifully arranged showcases of butterflies, moths and beetles, collection over a period of time from 1917 through to the 1960s. The butterflies are mounted with such perfection and in such a lovely arrangement that one must marvel not only at the patience with which Dodd and his children collected the species but the creativity and patience involved in preparing the showcases. It is no wonder that banker Dodd quit to focus fully on his love for these collections. Until I saw this exhibition (which, I later found out, was a temporary one and not always on display... lucky me), I had never known butterflies existed in so many varieties and most definitely not moths!! Moths in my head, until yesterday, conjured pictures of ugly brown butterfly-like insects. Not any more. The beetles! Jewels. That's what they looked like. There is even an exhibit with 4 beetles in a case, labelled after each of the musicians. 

One of the cases of the beetle collection, courtesy the museum's website
Then, there was the miscellaneous collection of items ranging from fire engines from various decades, bikinis, ceramics, air-planes and just about anything the Queenslanders feel proud of. Another floor up, an amazing number of animals, birds and sea creatures. I never even knew there were so many kinds of those. In Queensland alone? No joking! Then, the exhibits of artefacts created/used by the aboriginals. 

A good couple of hours later, our grumbling stomachs forced us to leave the museum and we left, having covered just level 2 and one of two wings on level 3. There is still levels 1, half of 3 and 4 to cover. Another day. Looking forward to it. 

We walked past QPAC, the Wheel and arrived at the weekend Lifestyle Market of South Bank. The walk-way is pleasant, made especially to protect us from the summer sun, it appears. Called The Arbour, it's touted as one of the attractions of South Bank. The streets were lined with stores, restaurants and fancy places - again, to visit another day. Today, we walked on the side with the food-court, watched the ibises by the flowing water. As we arrived at the man-made beach (Yes Dean, you're right, it is a joke), we hit a crowd of people waiting for a street-performer to being his show. 

The Arbour, courtesy the South Bank website
Steve from Adelaide, was one heck of a street-performer. Have not seen others, so I cannot tell whether his performance was out of the world but it was definitely engaging. He was a great speaker, simply fantastic at getting himself a reasonable sized crowd and making everyone laugh. We went there for a peek and ended up staying till the end. For once, my husband did not want to leave (his usual refrain at such events is, "I'm bored, let's get out of here"). He juggled 3 fire torches, then 4 and finally 5. My favourite was when he balanced on top of a tall ladder, without support, juggled a fire torch, a large knife and an apple, as he took bites out of the apple and talked to the crowd encouraging them to cheer. As if his cheeky comments and sarcastic sense of humour was not enough, he met his match in a little 6 yr old Tess who almost stole his show. "Shut up, it's my show", he said. 

Five dollars poorer after the show, we took a peek at the "man-made beach", and shot off to The Crepe Cafe for some beer and snacks. A beef & mushroom crepe and tomato-mushroom omelette later, we walked back home along the river. The lights reminded us of Clarke Quay in Singapore, only we liked this better. It was 11 degrees and awesome for a walk. Back to Queen Street Mall, the familiar crowd, past the painter beginning to set up his show, down the usual stores unusually open late on weekends, a pit stop at a couple of troopers... we arrived at home. A book, sandwich and cop show later, blissful sleep.

What's on for tomorrow?

2 Jul 2010

Puff Puff

If anything can go wrong, it will.

We don't need a Murphy to say that but since he did (or so say scores of websites on the internet), we'll give him credit for it.

So it did. One thing after another. Hell, some good came of it. Now what? Can we still call it 'wrong' or should we go soft on it and not call it 'wrong'? It was not 'right' though. I mean it has not still be 'right'-ed. Yet.

And it has potential for more fireworks. What does 'fireworks' mean? Good or bad? Hateful noise but lovely visuals.

Time will tell... for now, the uphill climb seems to be over. 

Change Is Good

I was told "Even if you hate it there, you will be better for the experience."

That refrain has been the basis of my decision. I am a sucker for experience. Everything else, 'get in line'.

It is like stepping into a giant wheel (roller coaster ride, they call it?). I can live without it, I don't really need to do it, eh? A slight push. Are you sure? Are you scared? Maybe. Maybe not. Dunno. I don't want to admit anything. I wonder. Why am I not doing it? There doesn't seem to be a good reason. Might as well give it a shot. So, go...

The preparations, the wait and the leap. So exciting! Thank God for that push! Thank God for those seemingly meaningless questions with no answers! 20 seconds of stress and then whoa, what a rush. So much fun. Such a high!

Slowly, as the I settle in, the momentum seems to slow down. Eventually, the dust will settle and all the fascinating things will become BAU. That every time I head back to my old life, there will be a spike of emotions, only makes the journey more enjoyable. Having the best of both worlds. Learning from the worst of both.

I must agree, even if I hate it enough to go back to where I came from, I will be better for the experience. I don’t see the hatred coming, I'm loving it. Plus, I already feel great about everything new that is enriching my life. I’m grateful for the opportunity that Life has given me, everything that has come with it and more that awaits…